White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Under the San Paulino Baluardo, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

If you can find the entrance in the curve of the road under the Baluardo San Paulino (one of the ten baluardos (ramparts) that strategically surround the city) and make your way past the cardboard ostriches .......

.......and under the vaulted brick arches overhead.........

.....and then gaze down this last long corridor.......you will....

....find this beautiful piece of art made of strips of shellacked corrugated cardboard stapled to a framework underneath. For scale, that's Amy at the red arrow peeking out the side. What a cool place and cool art!!

Piazza San Michele, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

A young woman talks animatedly on the steps of the 1000+ year old San Michele in Foro church that anchors the piazza of the same name.  (For you photographers, this image was purposefully overexposed, color reduced, and a texture added).

The Church sparkles in the bright Tuscan sun today. Piazza San Michele has been considered the center of town for a long time more than a thousand years - all the way back to when the first wall was built around the city.  The current wall, number four, and each successive perimeter grew in size as it tried to encompass growing parts of the city.

The warm sunny marble steps are a delight on this winter's day.

A couple discuss photographic techniques on the steps.  They were using me as a subject so I did the same.

The nearby east side of the piazza with shops, restaurants, and a gelateria. Some call that one, "Sean's" gelateria. You cannot go very far in this city and not find a gelateria! Nor should you ever have to or want to. I haven't found a vegan one yet though.

Sunset, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

A sunset view from atop the wall in Lucca.

The last bit of glow.

In the fading light, there are still many folks out and about for the evening passiegatta.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Random Scenes Out and About, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

As he has done for many years, this man sweeps the small sidewalk area in front of his home. He is using a traditional broom. (Near San Frediano).

I didn't plan to stop here in Piazza San Frediano for a snack of bruschetta but, the lovely tunes coming from the fingers of this busker were more than worth the diversion. He didn't look the part of a classical pianist but, for the hour I sat nearby, he played piece after piece after piece from memory. Maybe his plastic keyboard with the crackly speaker and the missing foot pedal would have put off a real musician but, I sure enjoyed it - "he played real good for free," in the immortal words of singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell. (On Via Fillungo).

I don't know how this ended up on our plate but, it didn't last long.

Another day, another round of diners in Piazza dell' Anfiteatro - pigeon eye level view.

Walking to lunch or just walking. Lucca is a walking kind of city - you can't get lost and you can't go too far.

A selection of modern appliances in a store display.

And if you get tired of walking, there is always a cafe, bar, or restaurant ready to serve you. (In Piazza San Michele).

Sunny Wall, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

At the top of this path to the wall is a bench. It is by our casual designation, "the cookie bench," for that is where we sat and ate a bag of some delightful chocolate vegan cookies we had procured in town at the store "Green." The chocolate was so dark the cookie looked black. The taste, ah, the taste - like heaven had mixed equal parts of chocolate, Tuscan sun, and magic and this was the result. And no, you can't have a bite of mine.

I don't know what the sign says in Italian but, I hope it doesn't say, "beware of cookie monsters."

There are two ways to breech the wall - via the roadways through the busy Portas, or, through the quiet pedestrian walkways like this one beside the Piattaforma San Frediano.  (Like a baluardo but smaller).

A black and white rendition of the budding trees atop the Piattaforma.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Lunch in Piazza dell' Anfiteatro, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Although the latitude of Lucca is not much different than my home in Massachusetts (42 vs. 43 degrees north latitude), on a winter day it is still warm enough here to enjoy lunch in the bright Tuscan sunshine as Amy demonstrates the proper technique.

School girls on a break laughing and cavorting in the Piazza. (As you would expect, the crowd of boys is a few yards away off screen to the left).

Pizza al Verdure - pizza with vegetables - perfetto!

Even the gluten free craze has hit Italy. And more and more places list vegan options on their menus, too.

Of course, Amy can't resist taking pictures even while seated at table. A photographer must photograph.

Walking down a random street in Lucca after lunch. What a pleasant city!

Arches and Magnolias, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

The Cathedral of San Martino was built in the 12th through 15th centuries and its bell tower makes a good landmark from atop the wall.

Some nice arches in Palazzo Ducale.

Arches are great places to get out of the rain or to store a bicycle. (We have been lucky - no rain in our first two weeks here - and no bicycle either).

The magnolias blooming their spring dance.

Ah Lucca, you are such a charmer.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Walking Man, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

He is clearly a gentleman of distinction, out for a walk on a delightful Sunday afternoon. He fits right in with everyone else. Just another pedestrian out strolling in the local tradition. I saw him all over town - because a walking man walks.

He turned quite a few heads as he passed.  And many people smiled at the sight of him. There was clearly something special about him.

And he was kindly enough to pose when I asked. As a fellow walking man, I've never tried his style of walking attire, hmmmm? I bet that would turn some heads on the streets of Manomet.

Lucca is still and always a magical city of wonder and delight!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Piazzas, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

This archway, one of four at each of the major compass points, leads out onto the Pizza dell' Anfiteatro, a beehive of tourists dining, shopping and just wandering. But not all piazzas are so busy.....

...like this one with a few parked bicycles on the perimeter......

....and in the middle, an instant impromptu soccer pitch for a pair of local youth.

Out and About, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

Pinocchio is one of the characters on the carousel. The story of "Pinocchio," is known the world over and was set not too far from here. In fact, a Pinocchio amusement park is located in the town of Collodi.

Part of this street, Corso Garibaldi, is closed to vehicles and vendors set up their tents on weekends. It is lined with flowering magnolias.  It is particularly wide as street go in this town.  Most of the narrow streets are about 25 feet wide (based on my unscientific eight paces) and support, foot, bicycle, dogs, auto, and bus traffic in a frenetic dance that somehow manages to avoid harming anyone. The secret seems to be: no sudden movements, no direction changes without a pause to look, and most of all, maintain situational awareness at all times.

Chilly or not, outdoor dining for lunch is much desired......and dogs are always welcome at table.

If you are located in a shady alleyway, most diners opt to go inside.

A silhouette of Matteo Civitali, an Italian sculptor, architect, painter, and engineer from Lucca in the late 1400's looks out on the Piazza San Michele.

Atop the wall, the paved path, graveled path, tree line, and dirt path all contribute to making the wall top the place to go for exercise, to see and be seen, or just to amble aimlessly.  The wall, about 30 feet high and 60 feet wide at the top completely encloses Lucca in its 2.5 mile circumference. The tower and church are part of the San Frediano facility.

There are countless small bars in Lucca that serve drinks and a lite snack.  Somehow they all have enough business to go around. I expect they are hoping for winter to end and more tourists to visit.

Textures, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

One of the wonders of an ancient town is that sometimes the layers of age are revealed in a section of dilapidated wall.  The layers tell stories about when and how it was constructed.

This is a side door to an unused part of a church. A three-piece door frame of solid marble/granite/stone - you can't buy that at Home Depot. I think the wild kitties roaming about can slip under the bottom without any problem to avoid inclement weather and find a nice mousie snack.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Time for Dinner, Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

As the nightly ritual of walking begins (the passegiata) along Via Fillungo, our thoughts turn to where to go for dinner.

Piazza dell' Anfiteatro, bathed in the full moonlight is always a good choice for daytime outdoor dining but, with the winter chill in the air (45-50 degrees F), we wanted inside and warmer tonight.

We decided on dinner at Trattoria da Ubaldo, a restaurant we have dined in many times over the years. The owner, depicted above on his house wine label (10 euro/bottle), is one of those unforgettable characters whose presence is larger than life.

We ate at the long table with many others - whether part of the same party or not. And as usual the food was excellent.